Where does Outlook store the messages in the inbox?

Posted on 2011-10-13
Last Modified: 2012-06-21
Outlook crashed then when I restarted it, many of my inbox items were no longer visible.   I thought the backup was working normally, however I cannot recover the missing e-mail messages.   Where is the file located that contains the Inbox?
Question by:DoctorK12008
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment

    The messages are stored locally in a file called something like outlook.ost in:

    drive:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook
    drive:\Users\<user>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

    This file may have become corrupt. The remedy is to close Outlook and delete this file.  The next time Outlook is opened it will retireve all the relevant mail from the mail server.  If there were a large number of emails, it may take quite a while for all of the emails to re-appear.

    LVL 8

    Expert Comment

    by:Salah Eddine ELMRABET

    Outlook store the PST file by default on the following path:

    C:\Documents and Settings\Administrateur\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\

    you said that Outlook crashed and you restarted it, did you get ant error message saying that the personal folder need to be recovered or checked or some things like that?

    you can check errors and repaire the PST file using the following programs :

    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\SCANPST.EXE


    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    Open Control Panel, Go to mail, and create a new user profile, Once the new profile is working , go back to control, mail and remove the old profile. If the user has Personal folders on the system do a search for *.PST  the local pst file are stored here:
     C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

    C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook for windows 7 and Vista

    Author Comment

    Sorry, I forgot to mention that this is Windows 7, not XP,so can you please give me the path?
    LVL 8

    Accepted Solution


    Could you please specify if you are using Exchange or Pop3 configuration, also the problem occuring on online inbox (personal folder at the server side .ost file) or local inbox (personal folder locally .pst file)?

    For pst file make a scan using SCANPST.EXE and for ost file using SCANOST.EXE all in the microsoft installation folder

    As youngrmy said for windows 7 the path is C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook (replace %username% by your account)


    Author Comment

    I am using POP3.   The problem is in the local inbox.   There is no .ost file on my hard drive, so I cannot delete it.   Is there some way to force Outlook to go to the server and download all the recent e-mails?

    Author Comment

    I have a backup of Outlook on a SanDisk Cruzer USB stick.   It contains a program called Dmailer Sync, which I use to back up all my Outlook data once a week.   I tried to use it to restore the data, but it just seems to copy the existing Outlook data on my hard drive to another folder.

    Author Closing Comment

    I ran SCANPST.EXE and it corrected the file, so I was able to retrieve my files.   Thank you.

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